In honor of National Women’s History Month 2015, we have prepared a series of five stories about Junior League members who have made a very visible mark on their communities by being elected the first woman Mayor of a major city.
Glenda became JLGO’s youngest President in 1982, taking as her presidential theme, “A Sense of Community.” Her community-oriented perspective contributed to the League’s role in the award-winning Hospice Project, the historical preservation efforts of the Orlando Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the awareness-building efforts of the League’s Diversity Training Network.
Ten years later, Glenda became the first woman elected Mayor of Orlando (also the youngest ever!). During her mayoral tenure, she placed an emphasis on improving her city’s quality of life. Her strong commitment to community was reflected in the creation of the Mayor’s Neighborhood Matching Grants Program, in which the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses agreed agreed to match funds of up to $5,000 raised by community groups for projects that improved the quality of life in Orlando’s neighborhoods. The successful program continues today.
After two additional four-year terms as Mayor, Glenda was appointed Florida’s Secretary of State by then-Governor Jeb Bush, a position she held for almost three years.
Glenda’s focus on building community at all levels has always expanded into every leadership position she held. She has served as President of the National League of Cities, President of the Florida League of Cities, Chairman of the Board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and Chair of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Her progressive vision and inclusive nature have also helped her build partnerships among 34 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean as part of the Free Trade Area of the Americas for the State of Florida.
She has also made a lasting impact on her League’s diversity, effectiveness, and relevance in the community. JLGO’s Chapin-Hood Award – named in honor of Glenda and former Orange County Chairman Linda Chapin (also a Past President of JLGO) – was established to honor and recognize members who have exhibited outstanding and distinguished leadership and service to the League and the Greater Orlando community.
Glenda is currently a founding partner at triSect Consulting, a strategy consulting firm focused on civic innovation that serves the business, government and independent sectors. She is a national Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and works with communities across the country on land use and quality of life issues.
Throughout her career, Glenda has been a leading figure in promoting civic growth and change for America’s cities, and has received many honors, including the American Community Network’s Leadership Award for Economic Excellence, the American Red Cross Spotlight Award, the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) Humanitarian Award and the National Jewish Fund’s Tree of Life award Humanitarian Award, the National Jewish Fund’s Tree of Life Award, and a Business Hall of Fame Laureate of Junior Achievement.